To capture the various life conditions and specificities of women in the Arab world, and the diverse ways in which women cope with and confront them, it is crucial to consider the multiple fields of power that dominate their lives and challenge the hegemonic discourses that frame discussions about them. These themes had motivated the writing of Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World, a book I co-edited with Maha El-Said and Nicola Pratt. The book addressed the complex multiple layers of analysis required in order to situate the socio-political events that swept the Arab world since the end of 2010, and examined shifts in gender dynamics, roles and norms that accompanied Arab women’s participation in anti-colonial struggles and sociopolitical transformations. The book problematized dominant ontological and epistemological frameworks for thinking about Arab women’s bodies and agency as well as the hegemonic reduction of Arab women’s life conditions to the fixed binary of Islamic/secular formations that obscures economic, geo-political, colonial and neocolonial structures.
In this essay I will focus specifically on the Palestinian colonial context. The question that leads this inquiry is how to build an Arab-Palestinian feminist agenda that is linked to struggles of national liberation, decolonization and social-economic justice in the contexts of Zionist settler colonial domination, imperialist neo-liberal intervention , and global corporatism that subjects its people to poverty and deprivation.